After going 2-2 with my picks during the wild card round, I’m back to give you my previews and predictions for the upcoming divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
New Orleans Saints (+8) at Seattle Seahawks
The Saints got dominated in every phase of the game a month ago in Seattle on their way to getting blown out on national TV. This game will also be in the very tough and hostile environment in Seattle, however I don’t expect a blow out this time. After finally breaking through and getting their first ever road playoff win in Philadelphia, Drew Brees and the Saints are looking for revenge in Seattle. I think they are going to watch the film of that blowout in Seattle and be much better prepared this time around. I look for them to jump out to an early lead as Seattle tries to shake off the rust from a two-week break. That being said, Seattle’s defense will keep them in the game and make one or two big plays to ultimately come away with the win. Seahawks win 30-20.
Indianapolis Colts (+7.5) at New England Patriots
As usual, the line favors the Patriots more than I think it should. The Colts explosive offense is going up against a mediocre Patriots defense. The Patriots will need Aqib Talib to try to shutdown T.Y. Hilton, and the defensive front will have to stop Donald Brown and the run game. It will be interesting to see how Andrew Luck responds to the harsh winter conditions in New England. I think the Patriots have a good advantage with their running attack of LaGarrette Blunt and Stevan Ridley. I look for Blount to get a lot of carries again in this game especially if the weather is cold. The Patriots have generally done well coming off of a bye in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, and although their team is definitely not as strong as it has been the last three years, I still think they find a way to get the job done. Patriots win 26-21.
San Francisco (-1.5) at Carolina
I’m pretty surprised the line is favoring the 49ers at the opening. After barely beating an 8 win Green Bay team, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will head to Charlotte to take on the Cam Newton and the surprising Panthers. The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the entire league, and the emergence of Cam Newton and the offense has helped propel Carolina to the #2 seed. That being said, it will be Cam Newton’s first career playoff game. Meanwhile, the 49ers have made the playoffs three straight years including a trip to the Super Bowl last year. These teams met back in November with Carolina squeaking out a 10-9 victory. The 49ers have won seven in a row overall, and I think the momentum and playoff experience of San Francisco will carry them to the NFC Championship for the third straight year. San Francisco wins 24-10.
San Diego (+10) at Denver
Despite coming into Denver and beating Peyton Manning and the Broncos just a few weeks ago, the Chargers remain heavy underdogs in this rematch. Peyton Manning will get his second shot at trying to win a playoff game with the Broncos, and try to avoid another disastrous collapse like last year against Baltimore. San Diego is definitely well-tested from playing in the best division in the AFC, so I expect this game to be a battle. Essentially the rubber game for these teams this season, there will be a lot of familiarity on both sides. I thought San Diego could definitely be a dangerous team if they got into the playoffs with Philip Rivers and Ryan Matthews. I wouldn’t be overly shocked if the Chargers won, but it’s hard to see San Diego coming into Denver and beating them for the second time in a month. Broncos win 34-28.
Let me know what your predictions are in the comments down below. Please like the post if you enjoyed reading, comment if you have feedback, and share with others.